Arroz Con Pollo

Arroz Con Pollo (in Dutch Oven)

Serves: 4-6

2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

For dish:
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ stick unsalted butter
1 medium onion, small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups long grain rice (I use Basmati rice but Mahatma works fine too)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1-2 tablespoons capers (drained)
½ cup pitted green olives (drained)
½ cup roasted red pepper strips (freshly roasted is great but you can save a lot of time by purchasing them in a jar too. They are just as good in this recipe).

Optional garnish: chopped cilantro or parsley leaves

  1. Put chicken thighs in a medium sized bowl and season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar and oregano. Let marinate while you’re organizing the rest of your ingredients, no more than half an hour.

2. Melt butter with olive oil in a Dutch oven (5 qt) or large lid pot then sauté onion over medium heat until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and cook just until you can smell its characteristic aroma and it turns opaque. Add the rice and stir well so the grains are coated with the fat. Let it sauté for a minute. Add the tomato paste and the broth. Stir well to mix. Add the remaining condiments. Taste the liquid. It should have a piquancy from the capers and olives. Add salt now if you think you need it.

3. Nestle the chicken thighs into the rice, adding any reserved marinade or juices. Bring the liquid to a simmer, cover the pot and cook either on top of the stove over low heat or in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until rice has absorbed all the liquid and chicken is cooked through. Taste for seasoning.

4. Garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley leaves.

Serves 4-6.

Psst! Leftovers are great but this is also an easy recipe to cut in half when it’s just the two of you.

Best Ever Dumpling Sauce with Dumplings

This tangy sauce provides the perfect balance of heat, acidity, savoriness and sweetness to dumplings. It can also be used over noodles, wontons or mixed with fried tofu. My dear friend Bini taught me how to make home made dumplings for Lunar New Year several years ago. It’s a lot of work but oh, so fun to do with a big group of friends. I cheat and buy frozen dumplings in the freezer section of my grocery store to save time. They are not as delicious as Bini’s but ALOT easier. Freezer-section dumplings come in chicken, pork or vegetable varieties and are the key to an easy weeknight meal (or a great party appetizer).

Pair the dumplings with this tasty sauce and you’ll be hooked!

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time:15 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes

Serving 2

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (I like the low sodium variety)
  • 2 tbsp water or broth from dumplings (if boiling dumplings)
  • 1 tbsp Chile garlic sauce (I use “Tuong Ot Toi Vietnam” or you can use Go Chu Jang which is a Korean chip pepper sauce)
  • 1/2 tbsp chili oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar 
  • 2 tbsp chinese black vinegar (or Worcester sauce)
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds 
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • chopped fresh scallions (cut on a diagonal)
  • chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 12 pieces store-bought or handmade dumplings

Instructions

  1. Wash and chop the fresh ingredients (cilantro, scallions, garlic)

2. Mix all except the last ingredient (dumplings) together in a small bowl.

3. Prepare handmade or store-bought frozen dumplings based on your preference (steamed or pan-fried). The package often tells you how to prepare them. Check out the process at the end of this post on steaming and pan frying dumplings.

4. Pour the sauce over the plated dumplings and garnish with more scallions and cilantro. You can also dip the dumplings into the sauce if you prefer. Adjust the chili oil or chili garlic sauce to your heat preference. Enjoy!

Preparing Chinese Dumplings

Boiling (option 1)

  1. Fill a pot two-thirds with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the dumplings, so they can fit in a single layer.
  3. Cook them until they float (about three minutes)
  4. Fish them out of the pot and drain them.

Pan Frying (option 2)

Using a small amount of oil, you can pan fry frozen dumplings. Cooking frozen dumplings is a process that takes between 20 and 25 minutes and is best done with a non-stick pan with a thick heavy bottom to distribute the heat better.

  1. Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil to a pan and heat on medium-high heat.
  2. Add the frozen dumplings and cook for 2-4 minutes on each side. Don’t move them too much. You just want them browned.
  3. Add boiling water to cover half the height of the dumplings and bring to a boil.
  4. Cover the pan and let the dumplings steam until their bases are golden and the water has almost evaporated.

SPICY THAI COCONUT CURRY STIR-FRY with Gluten Free Noodles, Cilantro & Peanuts

You’ll go nuts over this one-pot vegan noodle dish that offers both a rich aroma and a flavorful sauce of coconut curry. It’s perfect for those with a Keto lifestyle or are diabetic and are looking to cut not only carbs, but reduce calories, sugar, gluten and dairy. It satisfies, both the sweet and savory pallet and is so easy you can serve this weeknight meal for two in just about 30 minutes. You can add chicken breast strips too if you want to pack in more protein and aren’t on a vegan-restricted diet.

Spicy Thai Stir Fry

Total Time

25 minutes

Prep Time

10 minutes

Servings

2

INGREDIENTS

1 -2 Bell Pepper (Red, Yellow or Orange, your choice)

1 Lime

4-6 oz Gluten Free (dry) Ramen Noodles

(I personally like Healthy Noodles brand Plant based carb substitute. They are pre packaged for two and pre-cooked and oh SO easy)

1 oz Veggie Pho Stock Concentrate  

4-8 oz Button Mushrooms like cremini

1⁄4oz  Cilantro (roughly 10 sprigs) 

5 oz Coconut Milk (shake or stir as it often separates in package)

1 oz  Sweet Thai Chili Dipping Sauce (I like Thai Kitchen brand)

1 Clove Garlic 

1⁄2oz Peanuts (roughly chopped)

1 1/2 tsp  Curry Powder 

1 TBSP Olive Oil

1/4 tsp Salt

Pinch Pepper

1 PREP 

  • Wash and dry produce.
  • Halve, core, and thinly slice bell pepper into strips. Trim and thinly slice mushrooms. Peel and mince garlic. Quarter lime. Roughly chop cilantro. Roughly chop peanuts.
  • Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil to prepare the noodles. If using soy-based Healthy Noodles, simply rinse and drain the noodles in the pre-measured package and skip step 3.

2 COOK NOODLES 

  • Once water is boiling, add Ramen Noodles to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 1-2 minutes.   
  • Drain and rinse noodles under cold water for at least 30 seconds. Toss noodles with a drizzle of oil; set aside. (Keep empty pot handy for next step.) 

3 COOK VEGGIES 

  • Heat 1 TBSP oil in empty pot over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper and mushrooms; season with 1⁄4 tsp salt  and a pinch of pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender, 5-7 minutes. 

4 MAKE SAUCE 

  • Add a drizzle of oil to pot with veggies and reduce heat to medium. Add garlic; cook, stirring, until fragrant,
    30 seconds.
  • Stir in chili sauce, stock concentrate, half the coconut milk (you’ll use more later), and curry powder.

5 FINISH STIR-FRY 

  • Add drained noodles. If needed, stir in  a splash or two of remaining coconut milk until everything is thoroughly coated in sauce. 
  • Remove pot from heat; stir in juice from half the lime. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. 

6 SERVE 

  • Divide stir-fry between two bowls. Top with cilantro, peanuts, and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve with any remaining lime wedges on the side. 
Gluten free, dairy free and vegan

Lemony Chicken Rice Soup

Prep time: 10 minutes            Cook Time: 40 minutes          Total Time: 50 minutes

Serves 6

298 calories/serving

Ingredients

2 sticks celery chopped finely

2 medium carrots peeled & chopped finely

1/2 medium onion chopped

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic minced

2 tablespoons flour

6 cups chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1.5 pounds uncooked chicken breasts

1 cup uncooked white rice (or orzo if you prefer)

3 tablespoons lemon juice or to taste

1 tablespoon chopped parsley or to taste

Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

Sauté the celery, carrots, and onions in a large soup pot with the butter and oil over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes.

Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, then add the flour and cook for another minute or so.

Pour in chicken broth and stir until the flour has dissolved, then add the Italian seasoning and chicken. Bring the soup to a boil.

Cover the soup (lid slightly ajar), and reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in the orzo and cook for another 10 minutes or until the orzo is cooked through. I keep the lid off and stir it fairly often because it tends to stick to the bottom of the pot.

Take the chicken out of the pot and cut it up, then add it back in. Add the lemon juice, parsley, and season the soup with salt & pepper as needed. ( I like to add even a little bit more lemon juice but you decide).  Serve immediately.

This soup can also be frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 months and simply thawed and reheated on the stove.

Gaby Inspired Pan-Roasted Eggplant

Ingredients

  • 1/4 to 1/3c. olive oil
  • 1.5 lb. baby eggplant (Japanese or Baby variety), sliced in half lenghthwise and diced into 2-3 inch pieces if Japanese and larger variety of eggplant
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Vinaigrette-
    • 2 T. lemon joice
    • 1/2 c. olive oil
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/2 c. grated Pecorino (or your favorite hard cheese. I like Spanish Manchego)
    • Kosher salt & pepper to taste
    • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Process

  1. Make your vinaigrette and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add eggplant and turn often for about 15 minutes. Add more oil if eggplant starts to burn- you want it to caramelize.
  3. Transfer eggplant to a large bowl and toss with (more oil!) about half of the vinaigrette.
  4. Save the rest of the vinaigrette for your salad.
  5. Sprinkle with more Pecorino if desired and serve.

Caprese Chicken

Yield: 4 servings

recipe note: Balsamic vinegar comes in many forms. I recommend a higher quality one to get the fullest flavor. Many balsamic vinegars found in grocery stores are very thin – like water. Higher quality ones often found in specialty shops are aged longer and are slightly thicker (not as thick as balsamic glaze, but somewhere in the middle of the two). 41-Olive offers many choices.

ingredients:

4-6 skinless boneless chicken thighs (or breasts if you prefer)
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (I mix it up with the colorful heirloom variety)
10 large basil leaves, finely chopped
4-6 oz fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced in 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices
balsamic vinegar, to taste (My newest favorite is BlackCherry from 41-Olive)

directions:

Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken thighs or breasts and set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add chicken, cover pan, and cook for about 10 minutes. Flip chicken breasts and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked thoroughly (or has reached an internal temp of 165°F).

While chicken is cooking, in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add tomatoes and continue sautéing until tomatoes skin starts to soften/wrinkle, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Set aside.

Once chicken has reached desired doneness, top each chicken piece with 1-2 slices of mozzarella (depending on how thick you sliced it). Pour tomato mixture on top. Cover pan with lid once more and let the mozzarella melt, about 1-2 minutes.

Lastly, drizzle with a splash of balsamic vinegar and serve immediately.

Thai Marinated Cucumber Salad

This sweet and tangy salad is a perfect side dish all year around.  It is super easy to make and the flavors get even more delicious as it marinates.  Allowing it to marinate at least 10 minutes is key.  If possible, allow it to marinate over night as I think it is even better the 2nd day. 

 Makes: 4 Servings

Time: 20 minutes to overnight

  Ingredients

  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Cucumbers
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 2-inch Piece Ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 Small Bunch of Thai Basil (optional)

Instructions

1.Prepare the ingredients:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and mince the garlic and ginger.  Trim off and discard the ends of the cucumbers. Cut the cucumbers lengthwise and then again so that the cucumbers are spears.  Then cut into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Peel, halve and thinly slice the onion; place in a small bowl with the vinegar and set aside.

2. Assemble & marinate the cucumber salad:

In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, sesame oil, sugar, garlic and ginger, and as much of the onion-vinegar mixture as you’d like. Stir to thoroughly combine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and let marinate, stirring occasionally, for at least 10 minutes.

3. Finish & serve your dish:

Transfer the marinated cucumber salad to a serving dish; season with salt and pepper to taste.  Pick the Thai basil leaves off the stems; discard the stems and roughly chop the leaves and add to the salad just before serving.  Enjoy!

30-Minute Coconut Curry Chicken

Super Simple and Super yummy! This recipe mimics the traditional Thai curry but without so many hard to find ingredients. It’s so easy that it is perfect for a weekday meal.

Ingredients:

10 oz. of Organic Jasmine Rice (found in a 3-pack in the freezer section of many grocery stores like Trader Joe’s)

13.5 oz. can coconut milk

1 Tbsp. curry powder

2 Tbsp. fish sauce

2 oz. butter or ghee

1 lb. skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized chunks

2 bay leaves

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus four sprigs

1-2 mini red peppers, sliced (optional for garnish)

Procedure:

  1. Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add coconut milk and curry powder. Stir until combined, then add the fish sauce and butter. Stir until the butter is melted.
  2. Add the chicken and bay leaves. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. After the chicken has simmered for 10 minutes, remove the lid and simmer for an additional 15 minutes until the liquid had reduced by 50% and the chicken is cooked through (no longer pink in the middle).
  4. Stir in the fresh cilantro and remove pan from heat.
  5. Pop the bag of rice in the microwave for 3 minutes or as directed on the package.
  6. To assemble, add 3/4 cup of the cauliflower rice and 1/2 cup of the curry mixture to individual bowls and place a fresh cilantro sprig on top.

Blueberry, Feta and Carmelized Onion Flatbread

 
I recently went blueberry picking for the first time while visiting my sister and her family in VT over the summer.  We stumbled upon the Organic Sunshine Valley Berry Farm right off the Vermont Route 100.  They gave us  a blue bucket and pointed us to the rows of blueberries just ripe and ready for picking.

You may not know this but blueberries have several health benefits along with being a tasty treat.  They boost memory, support heart health and are a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K and fiber.  That little adventure to the Berry Farm inspired me to share one of my favorite pizza recipes that boasts beautiful and sweet blueberries.  This savory pizza is oh so good!  I often make it for special occasions during blueberry season because it both pretty and tasty.  But don’t feel you have to reserve it for just special times – It’s easy, has just a handful of ingredients, and is delicious too.

Blueberry, Feta and Carmelized Onion Flatbread

DFTSI Blueberry Feta and Onion PizzaIMG_3771

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 naan flatbreads
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • kosher salt
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup blueberries, rinsed and dried
  • micro  greens or baby arugula

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the naan/flatbread on the baking sheet and lightly spray or brush with water. Set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a medium pan over medium low heat. Add the onion and season with a pinch of salt to taste and red pepper flakes. Cook the onions until it is wilted, about 3-5 minutes and stir in the honey, and continue to cook a fe more minutes letting the onions caramelize. Remove from heat.
  • While the onions cook, stir the ricotta and feta cheese in a small bowl. Spread the ricotta mixture over the naan/flatbread, and top with the honey caramelized onions. Sprinkle the blueberries on top.
  • Place the naan pizzas into the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the blueberries are just about ready to burst, the cheese has softened, and the naan is toasted. Remove from oven, cut into squares or slices, sprinkle with arugula and enjoy immediately.
 
 

Mom’s HomeMade Chicken Stock

So many delicious soup recipes include chicken stock as the base for the broth. You can buy it in a box at the grocery store but in my opinion, homemade stock takes your recipe up a notch. It takes a bit of planning/preparation, but I think it is a game changer. Here is my go-to chicken stock recipe. It is my variation of Ina Garten’s but I make it in smaller batches. Try it out. It just might become your favorite too.

Yield: 2 quarts

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time 2-4 hours

Ingredients

1 whole roasting chicken (or 3 bone in chicken breasts)

1 large onion, quartered

2 carrots unpeeled and cut into thirds

2 stalks celery with leaves, cut into thirds

5-6 sprigs of fresh parsley

5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme

5-6 sprigs of fresh dill

4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise

2 tsp Kosher salt

1 tsp whole black peppercorns

Directions

Dump all ingredients in a large stockpot. 

Add about 3 quarts of water to the pot (at least enough water to cover all of the ingredients).

Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for 2-4 hours.

Strain the contents in a colander and discard all the solids.

Chill the stock overnight or use in your favorite soup recipe.

You can also pack in freezer safe containers and freeze for up to 3 months.